What happens if the entire contents of your home were destroyed? That can happen with flood and fire damage, especially. This will be way down low on your priorities of things to replace but you might eventually want or need a copy of your tax returns you’d been storing in your closet.
Use IRS Form 4506 to Get a Complete Copy of Your Tax Return
The IRS has copies of your tax returns dating back to seven years. For some types of tax returns they have even more going back in time. They also have copies of other types of tax returns like hte IRS 941 for example. But most of us simply need a copy of our 1040 since it or one of its variants is the most common federal tax return filed by individuals. Use IRS Form 4506 to request a copy of a tax return from the IRS.
But if your home wasn’t destroyed in a fire or your belongings weren’t totally wiped out in a flood you may just need a tax transcript. This is different from the copy.
Copy of Tax Return vs. Tax Transcript
The copy is just that: an exact copy. The transcript has just the basic elements of your tax return like AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) etc. and is therefore shorter. A tax transcript is sometimes needed when requested by banks or colleges. Applying for a loan, a mortgage, financial aid, low income housing, and other things where your income is used as a basis, will require a tax transcript usually.
Good thing, since the full copy request from IRS Form 4506 can take up to two months! Plus, a copy of your taxes will cost you $57. The tax transcript is free and quick and you can request it online since the IRS form 4506-T (used to request a tax transcript) is available in e-form.
The IRS Form 4506 must be filled out on paper after downloading it from the IRS website. You can get it here if you need it now.
What About Copies of Corporate Tax Returns? Estates? Representatives?
Yes, you can request a copy of a corporation’s tax returns using IRS Form 4506. Officers who have legal authority can sign the form. You must attach a letter documenting the fact that you are authorized to request the copy of the return. For an estate, you have to also attach a letter saying you can act for the estate. Representative of individuals can sign IRS Form 4506 if there is such a designation on IRS form 4828 and it’s attached to the request.